Where Have All the Fishes Gone?


A few years ago, Honda Matt, Tawny, Charles and I had an addiction. It wasn’t an affinity to drugs and we weren’t alcoholics. We had an addiction to fishing. We fished the Chesapeake Bay and coastal Atlantic so frequently it became habit. Our group was just short of “expert” status and we usually took home more fish than we could possibly consume in a day.

After a while life got in the way. Flash forward a couple years – Matt and Tawny had a kid, I became very career oriented, and we just never found the time to go fishing again. Up until about a year ago when Tina and I got together, I hadn’t touched a fishing rod in quite a while.

Tina, however, had re-inspired me to seek out and bring home the fish. So I started again – the hunt was on. I dusted off my lonely gear and we headed out obsessively.

Now, it’s been almost a year since I started fishing again approximately once a week. I’ve fished the same waters with the same techniques and gear as I used to, as well as expanded my hunt into Florida. Now it seems that I can’t catch a darn thing!I stressed about this for quite some time until I recently realized that I am not the problem. I’m still doing everything right. I’ve noticed that everyone else fishing around me is having the same troubles and rarely take home a fish of any size. I even noticed yesterday, as I patiently jigged my lure in Jupiter Inlet, that even the birds are having trouble finding a meal. I witnessed a large Pelican completely give up and lay down hungrily in the sand.

I could hypothesize all day about where the fish have gone. There are many theories – from overfishing, to global warming/climate shift, and even reef devastation due to invasive Lionfish. As a diver/snorkeler, I know that the fish are still there, because I can see them, and it doesn’t appear that their numbers have significantly decreased in recent years. The truth is that I have no idea what is happening and I’d venture to say that the scientists don’t know for sure either. One thing is a concrete fact though…the fish are no longer biting like they used to.

Here’s some photos from our adventure yesterday at Jupiter Inlet.

When it’s all said and done, we still have a great time fishing every time we try. We didn’t catch any fish yesterday but we did catch some great scenery on film. We were actually just invited to join my parents for a Reef Restoration Class and dive this weekend in Key Largo. Maybe the class will provide some insight on where all the fish have gone.


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